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Indiana Judge Stays Lisa Montgomery Execution

Photos of Lisa Montgomery.

(Joey Mendolia, WFIU/WTIU News)

Judge James Hanlon of the Southern District of Indiana issued a stay of execution for Lisa Montgomery late Monday night.

Montgomery is scheduled to die by lethal injection at the United States Penitentiary in Terre Haute Tuesday evening.

In his ruling, Judge Hanlon said the court will set a time and date for a competency hearing for Montgomery. The judge cited a 1986 case, Ford vs. Wainwright, that forbids the government from executing someone deemed mentally incompetent.

Montgomery was convicted of murdering a Missouri woman, Bobbie Jo Stinnett, in 2004. She strangled Stinnett and cut her unborn child out of the victim’s womb.

Montgomery’s attorneys says their client’s mental state has deteriorated significantly since being sentenced to death.

"Both the government and the victims of crime have an important interest in the timely enforcement of a sentence,” Judge Hanlon said in his ruling. “It is also in the public interest to ensure that the government does not execute a prisoner who due to her mental condition cannot appreciate the meaning of a community's judgment."

Montgomery’s original execution date of Dec. 8 was postponed to Jan. 12 after her attorneys contracted COVID-19.

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